This Calvados pink pearl apple tart makes a delectable fall treat with a double dose of apples from the lightly sweetened applesauce and sweet tart apple slices in contrast to the buttery crust.
A couple weeks ago while wandering through Lazy Acres, I found pink pearl apples. It’s been 5 years since I last saw them. Pink pearl apple was the very first pink flesh apple I discovered and my love for them has grown since. With quite a few apple recipes on the blog, I racked my brain for a special recipe to showcase these fall beauties. I came across the pink pearl apple tart recipe in Martha Stewart’s Fruit Desserts cookbook and couldn’t be more excited to give it a try. This Calvados pink pearl apple tart tastes as delicious as it looks!
The tart starts with a pâte sucrée, or sweet French butter based pastry dough that can be used to make both sweet tarts and pies. A classic pâte sucrée is all about butter so use quality butter. Avoid shortening or lard.
Tips for Making Pâte Sucrée
- To get a flaky crust, keep your equipment and butter as cold as possible so the butter does not melt and becomes overworked. Handle the butter as little as possible with your hands to avoid melting it with your temperature.
- Slowly add in ice water, a tablespoon at a time. When mixing the wet ingredients into the dry, stop once it sticks together to form the cohesive dough. Use the least amount of water possible to avoid a soggy dough or creating too much gluten.
- Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill it in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling out the dough. Letting it rest in the fridge allows the gluten to relax.
- Gently roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to keep from sticking. Carefully transfer dough to your tart pan and trim the edges with a knife.
- Freeze the dough after being placed in the tart pan for another 30 minutes to make sure the butter stays solid and doesn’t melt into the flour. The oven’s heat will cause the tart layers to puff and resulting in a flakier crust.
- Well-wrapped dough can be stored in the fridge for up to about 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Tips for Baking the Crust
For this Calvados pink pearl apple tart, blind-baking is required. Blind-baking is the process of baking a tart shell before it’s filled especially for pies with no-bake fillings like banana and cream, lemon meringue, or chocolate pudding. It’s a two step process that requires the crust to be filled with pie weights for the first bake. The pie weights help the crust keep its shape instead of slumping into a gloppy mess. If you don’t own pie weights, you can also use dried beans or rice.
On the second round, the pie weights are removed and crust baked until golden brown. You’re aiming for the color of golden brown to get the best texture and flavor. When in doubt, it’s better to slightly over-bake than under-bake. No one likes a soggy crust. The baked crust will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days.
How to Make the Applesauce Filling
For this recipe I used an unsweetened store bought applesauce but feel free to make your own if you have a recipe you love. The applesauce is cooked with butter, sugar, and Calvados until thickened. Calvados is an apple brandy produced exclusively in Normandy that gives the applesauce filling a pleasant kick. If you want it extra boozy, double the amount of Calvados in the applesauce filling.
How to Prepare the Apple for Baking
To prepare the apple slices for baking, peel and core the apples. I used a mandoline to slice the apple with the medium thickness setting, about 1/8 inch thick. You can also use a very sharp knife if you don’t have a mandoline. One sliced, I tossed them in a bowl with sugar and Calvados. If you can’t find pink pearl apples, use any apples that hold up well during baking like Granny Smith, Jonagold, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Empire, or Hidden Rose will work.
Once the tart shell is completely cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the applesauce over it.
Arrange the apple slices over applesauce mixture overlapping slices in concentric circle to completely cover the tart.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes at 375 degrees F until the apple slices become tender.
After it cooled down, I dusted the apple tart with confectioners’ sugar before cutting a big slice. I love the double dose of apples with the lightly sweetened applesauce and sweet tart apple slices in contrast to the buttery, crumbly crust. Utterly delicious is how I would sum up this Calvados pink pearl apple tart!
Calvados Pink Pearl Apple Tart
- 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons iced water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Calvados
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2-3 medium pink pearl apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Calvados
- Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the butter pieces on top and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the egg yolk and pulse until incorporated.
- Pulse in the water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to hold together. It will appear to be a bit crumbly but should come together easily.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and form the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment papers until you get about 11 inch diameter and ⅛ inch thickness.
- Lay the dough in the tart pan and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it. Trim off any excess dough with a knife. Prick the bottom with a fork.
- Cover and freeze the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line pastry crust with parchment paper and fill with baking weights (or uncooked rice or dried beans).
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Remove parchment paper and baking weights. Continue baking for another 10 minutes until golden brown for a fully baked shell. Let the tart shell cool completely.
- In a small saucepan, combine butter, sugar, applesauce, and Calvados. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened.
- In a large bowl, combine Calvados and sugar.
- While the applesauce is cooking. peel and core apples. Use a mandoline or sharp knife and slice all the other apples into very thin half-moons, about 1/8-inch thick.
- Transfer the apple slices to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Spread applesauce mixture even over cooled tart shell.
- Arrange the apple slices on top of the dough in a concentric circle with slight overlap to completely cover the tart.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes until the apple slices become tender.
- Remove the apple tart and let it cool for 15 minutes.
- Dust apple tart with confectioners' sugar before serving.